By Myah Guild
DUNSTABLE, Bedfordshire, England – The visual masterpiece that is Life of Pi hit our screens at the end of 2012 and has wowed audiences worldwide ever since.
Director Ang Lee’s adaptation of the 2001 novel by Yann Martel follows the story of Piscine ‘Pi’ Patel, the son of an Indian zookeeper as he battles to survive as a castaway, with only a Bengal tiger for company.Instantly fascinating is the beauty and clarity of the picture as the story opens in Pondicherry, a French-inspired region of India. This theme continues throughout the story as spectacular scenes of huge diving whales and glowing fish appear in startlingly high definition.
Suraj Sharma’s performance as Pi Patel is captivating as he goes through almost every emotion conceivable while drifting endlessly in the Pacific Ocean.
The film explores the themes of God, faith, fate and the intriguing bond between humans and animals.
The audience undoubtedly questions how they, themselves, would survive in the same situation, a predicament that becomes increasingly dire as days roll by.
There are scenes of violence and extreme weather that reaffirm the ruthless aspect of nature.
However, the light-hearted and amusing moments provide relief from the story when the film moves from the flashback into the present day, when a demotivated writer (Rafe Spall) is regaled with a story that he was told would “make him believe in God.”
Despite the fact that the film’s other main character is an computer generated jungle cat, amusingly named ‘Richard Parker’ after his name was swapped with his hunter (and a nod to the association of the name with shipwrecks), his contribution to the story cannot go without mention. After all, it is the tiger who encourages the story to continue and the audience to keep watching.
A film that largely focuses on a boy, a boat and a Bengal tiger may sound a little bland, but Life of Pi, with its combination of a simple, emotional storyline and, frankly, stunning effects is a memorable and indelible experience.
It is surely in its rightful place alongside the other cinematic triumphs nominated for this year’s Best Picture Academy Award.